BALTIMORE (WJZ)–Harry Tsakalos, co-founder of H&S Bakery, died of natural causes Thursday in his Harbor East residence. He was 93.
The son of Greek immigrant parents, Nicholas and Rodanthi, Harry was born in Vandergrift, Pa. on February 17, 1919 and raised in Weirton, W.Va. He was the second oldest of nine brothers including Peter, Markos, Andrew, George, James and Charles. His brother James survives him.
The family moved to Baltimore in 1936 and Harry worked as a truck driver for Athens Bakery where he met Isidore “Steve” Paterakis. Paterakis was a baker and through him Tsakalos met his future wife, Steve’s daughter, Liberty Paterakis. The couple married in 1942 and they had their only child Nicholas the following year.
Tsakalos and Steve Paterakis purchased Olga and Son Bakery in East Baltimore in 1943 and reopened under the name H&S, after themselves, the “H” being Harry and the “S” for Steve.
Paterakis, his wife Kyriaki and their son John made Italian bread by hand and baked it in a brick flat-hearth oven. Tsakalos drove the company’s sole delivery truck, handling all wholesale and home delivery service.
Upon Steve Paterakis’ death in 1953, his son John Paterakis and Tsakalos continued to grow the business.
Today, H&S Bakery has grown into one of the largest bakers on the East Coast producing more than 100 varieties of breads, rolls and specialty items.
Its subsidiary, Northeast Foods, Inc., has been a key supplier to McDonald’s since 1965 and is currently the fast food chain’s largest supplier of buns in the United States.
The company continues to be family owned and operated by Tsakalos’ son, Nicholas and by John Paterakis and his four sons Steve, Bill, John and Chuck.
Harry Tsakalos’ three grandsons Harry, Michael and Christopher continue as the third generation working for the company.
Harry Tsakalos was a parishioner of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation in Baltimore. He and his family were responsible for the establishment of the Annunciation Orthodox Center and numerous other projects of the community.
He was regarded as one of the pillars of the Greek American community. In 1981, Harry was bestowed with the title of Archon of the Ecumencial Patriarchate, one of the highest awards offered to a layman.
Harry Tsakalos received many awards of recognition for his philanthropic ways including his support of the local Greek Orthodox churches as well as in Greece. He also was an active member in the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) and other charitable organizations.
Harry Tsakalos is survived by his wife of 70 years Liberty (Paterakis) Tsakalos; son Nicholas and daughter-in-law Jeanne Tsakalos, grandsons Harry, Michael and his wife Sylvia, Christopher and his wife Triantafilia, as well as 4 great grandchildren, Nicholas, Jacob, Mixalitsa and Elijah, his younger brother James Tsakalas, many nieces, nephews and godchildren.
Friends may call at the Ruck Towson Funeral Home, Inc, 1050 York Road (beltway exit 26A), on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. and from 6 to 9 p.m., where a Trisagion Service will be held at 7:30 p.m.
Harry Tsakalos will lie instate in the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation on Monday from 10 to 10:30 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, 24 W. Preston Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. Memorial gifts may also be made to the IOCC Foundation earmarked to the “Harry and Liberty Tsakalos Endowment,” 110 West Rd, Suite 360, Baltimore, MD 21204.